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Help me help my mom. . .low-end/cheap PC

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August 13, 2006 2:08:07 AM

She has been running on a Pentium II 400 Mhz I think. . .Fans gave out. . .hard drive over heated. . .

I'm looking to build her something in the $400-500 price range. She has a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I am good on the misc. components like memory and drives, case and PSU. I am not so sure on the other core components such as:

CPU
Motherboard
Graphics Card

I have no idea what has changed in the last 4 months since I built my system. I think there are some new socket types? Just because of past experience, I am leaning towards Nvidia for motherboard chipset and graphics card, as well as AMD based system.

She intends to get a flat panel monitor at some point in the future, so I would like a graphcis card with DVI just in case.

She uses the system primarily for internet browsing, but I would like to see her be able to run most apps out today.

Thanks in advance for advice.

ETA: After a couple hours of looking around. . .something like this:

COOLER MASTER Centurion Micro ATX 541 RC-541-SKR1 Black Aluminumm bezel, SECC chassis MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Retail $69.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $79.99 - 10 Rebate = $69.99

MSI K8NGM2-FID Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $78.99
- has integrated graphics with ability to expand to a PCIe 16x

OCZ Value Series 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model OCZ4001024V25DC-K - Retail $92.99 - 8 Rebate = $84.99

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3200BPBOX - Retail $77

Some extra fans and shipping should puts it just over $400.

Comments. . .suggestions. . .

I would prefer something cheap that she has some sort of upgrade path on. 1GB RAM as to not have to upgrade for a couple of years based on her usage. Motherboard seems to have good reviews. Micro ATX so that she does not have some huge box to deal with. I have almost the same HD and have had good experience.

More about : mom low end cheap

August 13, 2006 2:48:03 AM

Well, the following will be adequate for any app I can think of, doesn't sound like she'll tax the system too hard.

Sempron 2800+ AM2, 1.6Ghz $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I've had good luck with Epox boards, nothing to complain about. $82 (picked almost at random, has the NF4 chipset, I love the NF4!) It's AM2 so it has some upgrade potential.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I do like XFX a lot, good experience with my 6600GT
7300GT 256Mb PCI-e $92, a tiny cut above low end (turbocache), and 2 DVI ports.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

OR

A bit more expensive, maybe an ATI all-in-wonder. Can watch/record TV, etc.

$224 total.

Now, one thing to remember is that the motherboard uses DDR2. So maybe a bit more expense there. If you go with a 939 setup and a lesser video card, could probably save even more $$$. Take a look around. ;) 
August 13, 2006 3:17:10 AM

Quote:
Then go out and get her a nice $500 Dell with LCD.


I couldn't agree more. For a general purpose home system in this price range, it's really hard to beat Dell. There's a reason they're the largest computer company in the world.

There really aren't any significant savings to be had by building your own.. Keep in mind that you're paying qty 1 prices and the little things like mouse, kb, speakers and windows SW add up quickly. Then there are the shipping costs of RMA's when you get DOA's.

Unless you really enjoy tinkering, go for Dell or HP. Lots of value for the money and the prices for single core systems are dropping almost daily. And the best part is that they work!
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August 13, 2006 3:54:35 AM

I agree with the Dell. For anyone building a basic PC (internet, email, picture viewing, music, etc...) for less than 600 bucks or so, Dell is a good deal. The higher end you go, the more you save by home building a PC, but in the low end, it is nice to have the software package and buy-in-bulk prices that Dell pays for their hardware.

Although if you plan on upgrading the PC at anytime, avoid Dell/HP and go homebuilt.
August 13, 2006 5:09:46 AM

Quote:
She has been running on a Pentium II 400 Mhz I think. . .Fans gave out. . .hard drive over heated. . .

I'm looking to build her something in the $400-500 price range. She has a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I am good on the misc. components like memory and drives, case and PSU. I am not so sure on the other core components such as:

CPU
Motherboard
Graphics Card

I have no idea what has changed in the last 4 months since I built my system. I think there are some new socket types? Just because of past experience, I am leaning towards Nvidia for motherboard chipset and graphics card, as well as AMD based system.

She intends to get a flat panel monitor at some point in the future, so I would like a graphcis card with DVI just in case.

She uses the system primarily for internet browsing, but I would like to see her be able to run most apps out today.

Thanks in advance for advice.

ETA: After a couple hours of looking around. . .something like this:

COOLER MASTER Centurion Micro ATX 541 RC-541-SKR1 Black Aluminumm bezel, SECC chassis MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Retail $69.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $79.99 - 10 Rebate = $69.99

MSI K8NGM2-FID Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $78.99
- has integrated graphics with ability to expand to a PCIe 16x

OCZ Value Series 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model OCZ4001024V25DC-K - Retail $92.99 - 8 Rebate = $84.99

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3200BPBOX - Retail $77

Some extra fans and shipping should puts it just over $400.

Comments. . .suggestions. . .

I would prefer something cheap that she has some sort of upgrade path on. 1GB RAM as to not have to upgrade for a couple of years based on her usage. Motherboard seems to have good reviews. Micro ATX so that she does not have some huge box to deal with. I have almost the same HD and have had good experience.


You have no reason to not go dual core. Especially if you don't want to upgrade again in at least 3-4 years, based on her usage. The Pentium D 805 is currently under $100 anywhere you look. It's only around $20 more than the Athlon 64 you suggested, and it has much better performance.

Here is a nice Intel motherboard to go along with it, and it has onboard video, along with a PCIe x16 slot. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121030

Here is 1gb of RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145525

160gb SATA HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

So...
CPU = $96
MoBo = $70
RAM = $84
HDD = $55-60
Case you said = $70
Optical Drive ~ $30

Total is around $405-410 before shipping. And that will kill any prebuilt system out there, period. It's also better than the single core Athlon 64 you were planning on.

P.S. I'm assuming you'll be using the PSU that comes with the case. If I'm wrong, then you should buy a cheaper case and get this Thermaltake 430w PSU, or another cheap one from Rosewill, FSP Group, or Apex. Then, the money saved on the case can be used for a PSU, and things will even out, for the most part.
August 13, 2006 5:23:11 AM

Go to Dell. The rule the under $500 computer class. It will include a regesterable version of windows and your mom will have someone else besides you to call for tech support. Oh yea and no troubleshooting when you first turn it on.
August 13, 2006 5:34:25 AM

I made my mom get herself a new cheap dell laptop and she loves it, was like 600. If you're really hell bent on making one instead of buying one, hell putting shit together is fun, you go with a cheap Celeron D, for like 50 bucks you can get the motherboard that will also support Pentium D's, although most wont support conroe unless you pop out an extra 50 bucks, mom's dont need C2D to surf the net. Laptops are great for moms, mine brings it all over the house, in the kitchen, sitting down watching TV and such, they're so cheap from Dell, its a waste not to!
August 13, 2006 2:19:55 PM

Quote:
Then go out and get her a nice $500 Dell with LCD. But if you really want to build her a system then keep it simple.
http://promotions.newegg.com/AMD/AMD_mobo/index.html
this would be a good start.
You can find a decent video card for under $40. Like a Geforce FX 5200.
That still leaves plenty leftover for everyhting else.



Raven.....this is good advice .......


Think I would have suggested the same....



Think the 500 dollar dell with LCD in this case would be the wisest choice.......although you wont get the fun out of building the system.
August 13, 2006 2:59:41 PM

Yep. Get a dell. You also have to include the cost of the OS cause I assume she was using 98 or ME which needs to be upgraded. For the price and time savings, you can't beat the price of a cheap dell.
August 13, 2006 3:00:18 PM

Quote:
Id wait until the X2 3600+ is around. Its expected to be $120 or less once in abundance. It's really just 2 Sempron3600's with 256k cache each.
THG overclocked this chip to 2.6ghz and it out benched the 5000 at the same clock speed and spanked the E6300 Conroe with 1/4 the cache!!


I think being underwater has influenced your judgement.....


Also water fractures images and texts been shown on a website.....which could explain what you are saying....
August 13, 2006 3:01:36 PM

I couldn't agree more there is now need to waste time building a custom rig, just get a Dell.
August 13, 2006 3:06:43 PM

In contrast to the Dell, I would suggest a Cyberpower. Cyberpower offers a lot of different options, so you can have it built just as you want and then get a gaurentee, tech support, etc.
August 13, 2006 3:35:52 PM

I have to disagree with the Dell supporters. Yeah you can get a low end Celeron PC with 512 MB of RAM and 15" LCD for about $500 shipped. But what is the point of spending $500 on that? I just built a new PC for my dad with parts from Newegg for ~$550. Sure I had to buy an LCD too, but you can pick up a 15" now for under $100. The PC I built included a Dual Core 805, Intel 965 MB (for future Core 2 upgrade), 1 gig of Corsair Ram and a 250 gig HDD. To me, the machine I built was low end with upgrade potential. The Dell machine is just old, slow technology. And Dell "support"? I think we all know how great that is :?
August 13, 2006 3:55:57 PM

The point is, for some people, time is also relative. Further, hes got to buy the OS.

If he wishes to build it, great. If not, Dell or other cheap OEM is a perfectly acceptable solution for those who aren't die hard OEM haters.
August 13, 2006 4:09:07 PM

Quote:
She has been running on a Pentium II 400 Mhz I think. . .Fans gave out. . .hard drive over heated. . .

I'm looking to build her something in the $400-500 price range. She has a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I am good on the misc. components like memory and drives, case and PSU. I am not so sure on the other core components such as:

CPU
Motherboard
Graphics Card

I have no idea what has changed in the last 4 months since I built my system. I think there are some new socket types? Just because of past experience, I am leaning towards Nvidia for motherboard chipset and graphics card, as well as AMD based system.

She intends to get a flat panel monitor at some point in the future, so I would like a graphcis card with DVI just in case.

She uses the system primarily for internet browsing, but I would like to see her be able to run most apps out today.

Thanks in advance for advice.

ETA: After a couple hours of looking around. . .something like this:

COOLER MASTER Centurion Micro ATX 541 RC-541-SKR1 Black Aluminumm bezel, SECC chassis MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - Retail $69.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $79.99 - 10 Rebate = $69.99

MSI K8NGM2-FID Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $78.99
- has integrated graphics with ability to expand to a PCIe 16x

OCZ Value Series 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model OCZ4001024V25DC-K - Retail $92.99 - 8 Rebate = $84.99

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3200BPBOX - Retail $77

Some extra fans and shipping should puts it just over $400.

Comments. . .suggestions. . .

I would prefer something cheap that she has some sort of upgrade path on. 1GB RAM as to not have to upgrade for a couple of years based on her usage. Motherboard seems to have good reviews. Micro ATX so that she does not have some huge box to deal with. I have almost the same HD and have had good experience.


I just got this MSI mobo and CPU before the CPU price drop. Really like the mobo and will be getting the dual 3800 and would suggest you do the same, it's $150 at newegg. This set up should last her for years. There are only 2 PCI slots but that shouldn't be a problem given the onboard sound is adequate although I did put a sound card in mine and will eventually use the other slot for a wireless card. Onboard video works fine and even has a DVI connection but I don't play games. Board even has a firewire connection, which would be good if she has a digital camcorder. Personally I would not get a Dell but if you do, be sure to order the Windows installation disk for an extra $10, format the hard drive as soon as you get the machine and then reinstall Windows to get rid of the crapware. As for Dell's support, it's an on-line chat, used it for my wife's new laptop. It's pretty quick and easy to use but they still are reading from a script. Installation was quick and easy, MSI has really good instructions.

Can get an OEM copy of XP for $90 at newegg.
August 13, 2006 7:27:36 PM

You're absolutely right, if your time is money then you may want to buy a complete system. But, this guy sounds like he enjoys building PCs so I think it is a better idea to build a quality system. My cost also included the OS!

By the way, I'm not a die hard OEM hater :)  I think Dell has done a great job of getting people to beleive they can get a great computer with great service. I just tend to disagree after owning a Dell and knowing others who have owned Dells.
August 13, 2006 7:44:11 PM

Wow,
I just checked out CyberPower's website. They seem VERY reasonable and the PCs are much more customizable than Dell's! This looks like a great place to go if you don't want to DIY. Good call Sailer!
August 13, 2006 8:36:55 PM

isnt cyberpower owned by newegg? i would just go for the cheapest components like a athlon 64 3000+ i mean cmon 66 bucks, that murders the celerons its not even funny, plus low power low heat. and you dont need dvi for a flat pannel almost all lower end models only support vga input. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... i highlllyyy suggest that motherboard as i own it and it has been the best motheboard i have ever purchased, plus it comes with onboard video. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682... also that is great memory and has lasted me for 2 years so far. i dont know how much room she needs...i mean i dont even use all my 200gbs, but heres a good 250 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
so thats: 66+80+101+69=316 ad like 20 bucks for shipping o yeh pick up a nice antec powersupply for like 50 bucks...whatever you do dont skimp on the powersupply. Good Luck
August 13, 2006 8:55:30 PM

CyberPower is owned by Newegg? Maybe that is why the prices seem reasonable :)  I agree with you. If you like to build your own PCs go to Newegg and price one out before you buy a company X PC.
!